EBAN’s annual summit brings opportunities for engagement and dialogue

The Elon Black Alumni Network went virtual for its annual summit that took place Sept. 26.

More than 80 members of the Elon Black Alumni Network (EBAN) came together to meet virtually on Saturday, Sept. 26, for the organization’s annual fall summit. Topics covered university updates and strategic planning within the network that seek to expand access and resources available to Black students and alumni, as well as increasing recruitment efforts of Black students to Elon.

The annual meeting also serves as an opportunity for Black alumni to ask questions to university administrators and provide direct feedback for future initiatives. Although this was the first time the summit took place virtually, EBAN President Aliana Harrison ’08 said “it still allows the opportunity to engage with alumni from all across the country, which we normally haven’t been able to do with our summit, [because] it’s been more focused in the North Carolina and Atlanta areas.” Because it was online, participants were able to join in all the way from Trinidad to the West Coast.

A number of senior Elon leaders spoke at the summit, including President Connie Ledoux Book, who shared updates about the university’s ongoing plans for enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. President Book acknowledged the difficult and painful events members of the Black community have had to endure, and reaffirmed Elon’s commitment to being a part of the change moving forward, saying,

“I’m grateful that in the middle of all that is going on, that you’re taking time to invest in Elon being a stronger, better, more equitable place,” she said. “I join you in that work and am committed to it.”

Greg Zaiser ’90 G’95, vice president for enrollment, and Courtney Vaughn ’15 G’20, director of diversity recruitment, shared Elon’s five-year plan for increasing Black student recruitment. The plan calls for deeper partnerships between the Office of Admissions and various student life and campus centers, as well as EBAN, to build new events and increase funding for recruiting efforts.

Additionally, Jim Piatt, vice president of university advancement, discussed plans to triple the Black Alumni Scholarship endowment by 2025. This scholarship exists to help make an Elon education available to deserving Black students. Anyone who makes a gift of $19.63 or more will join the 1963 Club, a community of dedicated donors who support the success of Black students at Elon. All gifts made will also count toward the ongoing Elon LEADS Campaign.

There are more Elon events for EBAN members to look forward to this fall including the upcoming virtual Homecoming & Reunion Week events taking place Oct. 12-18. To register or view these events, please visit the Homecoming website.

The Elon Black Alumni Network is an official affinity network under the Office of Alumni Engagement. EBAN’s purpose is to unite and represent the interests of Black alumni and strives to empower, connect, and celebrate Elon’s Black community.  For more information about the organization, contact Deidra Smith, director of alumni engagement, at dsmith79@elon.edu.